What’s Good?! It’s about that time again to get into some knowledge dumping. To go along with the theme of the NBA for this month, I wanted to talk about another aspect of the game which contributes to the greatness on the hardwood. Every hooper rocks a certain pair of kicks for their own particular reason. Either if it’s for comfort, the way it looks, or because it’s their signature shoe, basketball kicks shape the game and the culture surrounding it. From Michael Jordan to Penny Hardaway, there are some shoes that stand out in the history of the NBA because of what the player did or simply because they were just TOO nice on the eyes. Without further delay, let’s get into this conversation about the best basketball kicks of all-time.
When the 11′s came out, Jordan was coming off of his retirement from the game and his short stint with Minor League baseball. After that short episode in MJ’s life, he came back to the game harder than ever rocking the number 45 for a short time. However, with his wardrobe change, Jordan dropped one of the illest kicks to ever come from the Jordan brand and maybe in all of basketball. The Concord XI’s were re-released a year ago and without much surprise, they sold out on the first day. Since then, The Jordan XIs have been placed on dead stock and its pretty much rare to find some authentic ones for a reasonable price.
When you think of old-school kicks, what exactly comes to mind? Before Nike and Adidas were running the game in basketball kicks, dudes were wearing Chuck Taylors quite often. I’m not knocking the Chuck Taylor because they are seriously legendary in the basketball shoe game however, shoes obviously got better and Converse created the Weapon as a way to cater to the common hooper in the 80′s. While signature shoes weren’t really relevant at the time, when you think of the Converse Weapon, two legends come to mind. Larry “Legend” Bird and Magic Johnson were the two huge names that led the campaign for them. With two legends backing the shoes, the shoes were some of the biggest kicks in the late 80′s and are now one of the most legendary kicks on the hardwood.
Nike Air Jordan I
Before any kind of Jordan’s were released, signature shoes didn’t have as much of a meaning until the Nike Air Jordan I’s hit the shoe spot. There was something that was just too dope about the simple high top design with the Chicago Bulls colorway. It’s both classic and legendary at the same time. Although the shoe was re-released with a bunch of colorways back in the early 2000′s, nothing matches up to the original kicks that Jordan won his rookie of the year trophy in.
Nike Air Foamposite One
This shoe made the list for not only it’s physical purpose, but more so because of it’s visual appeal. If you don’t exactly remember the Foamposites by name, if you saw them, you would definitely have some nostalgia about them. Famously worn by Penny Hardaway, the Foamposites had that brushed metal type of feel with the waves going across the whole shoe. I don’t know if it was the look or the fact that Penny made these shoes look too good but they were and still are hot. I know dudes in DC started wearing them heavy again but we gotta remember why it was so dope in the first place.
As big as he is, Shaq needed some kicks that stood out as much as he did while on the court. With the Shaqnosis kicks, they definitely did stand out. Although the shoes did look like some huge tank-like behemoth pieces of footwear, the shoes actually were pretty functional on the court and had Reebok’s Hexalite technology in them. The version that Shaq had on the court were a little bit different than the ones that were released to the public. One difference was that Shaq’s own personal pairs laced up higher than the public released ones. But hey, when you’re a 7′ 1” giant with size 22 feet, you would want as much ankle support as possible too.
Reebok The Question
Let’s face it, there were a lot of people in the league that could handle the ball with ease, but A.I. had some of the best handles ever. I mean, at one point in his career, he had Michael Jordan doing the Cha Cha before sinking a jumper. If there was one shoe that defined A.I. amazing career, it had to be the shoes that first introduced him to the league, The Question. By hoopers, it’s regarded as one of the most comfortable and effective shoes to ever grace the hardwood.
Nike Air Max Penny II
When I think of my own childhood and all the kicks that I had growing up and playing ball on the driveway, there is one shoe that I really remember rocking most of the time and the Air Max Penny was the one that stuck with me. Sure I had J’s and the Kobe’s but this was one pair of shoes that I hooped in till the sole came off. For those that know basketball in the 90′s, Penny was a force on both ends of the court. If he wasn’t playing hard D on the ball carrier, he was on the other end posterizing people like he was playing on a Fisher Price hoop. If Penny couldn’t sell them on his own, Lil Penny and Spike Lee were on hand to provide a little push. Either way, the Air Max Penny IIs was THAT shoe upon it’s release.
Before he had 5 titles, an MVP title, gold medals and all his other accolades, Kobe was just a kid coming from Lower Merion with the opportunity to be on the Lakers. When you think of Kobe’s signature kicks now, you think of either the Kobe 6 or 7′s for their light design and low cut. However, in the beginning, Kobe was signed to the people over at Adidas where he released his first kicks, the KB8′s. On the outside, they rocked the traditional Adidas three stripes but on the inside, the shoe was fitted with Feet You Wear technology which was supposed to make it feel like your foot and the shoe were one. Since it’s initial release, the shoes have gotten a re-release under the name Crazy 8′s, however they just weren’t as special as when Kobe wore them as a rookie.
Reebok Pump Omni Light
I wanted to include these shoes for one reason. Remember when Dee Brown was in the dunk contest and he threw up a lob to himself and did that double clutch reverse dunk? Yeah not really. But one thing that did stand out before the dunk was the image of him pumping up his kicks. Even before these particular kicks came out, the original Pumps were something that was pretty common on your neighborhood court. Dudes were pumping up their kicks in between possessions and before going onto the court. Before Dee Brown rocked them, Dominique Wilkins was the spokesperson for the Pumps. Is there anymore of a reason for these kicks to be on here? “Hold on, I got to get pumped.”
Nike Air Zoom Huarache 2k4
In 2004, I was playing freshman basketball for my high school team so it was a guarantee that I would see new kicks at the beginning of the season. If there was one shoe that every hooper was wearing in ’04, it had to be the Huarachies. It wasn’t exactly the hype or anything that made people want to wear them, but it was the fact that they actually felt perfect to hoop in at the time. Despite the fact that everyone in the NBA was practically wearing these kicks, these shoes were supposed to be Kobe’s first signature shoe after signing with Nike. However after what happened with his incident in Colorado, Kobe lost his signature title on the shoe. Signature shoe or not, Kobe was rocking these hard and it sold like no other.